Sacramento Kings Get First Victory At Golden 1 Center, Squeak By Timberwolves 106-103.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, California — With a five-game road trip ahead, Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger said the home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves was not necessarily a must-win situation.
“I don’t think so,” Joerger said before the second NBA game was played at Golden 1 Center on Oct. 29. “It’s (only) game three.”
As for the outcome, it was a victory and the first recorded in Golden 1 Center for the hometown fans. The Kings rebounded from an 18-point deficit to beat the Timberwolves 106-103.
Joerger, who is seldom straightforward with his comments, can relax a little better now. He knows better than anyone that he did not want the Kings to leave town without a homecourt ‘W.’
“It just means that you go on a road trip 2-1. I think it’s a nice difference to be 2-1 than 1-2 and how you feel about yourself,” Joerger said following the game in front of sellout crowd of 17, 608. “I think it’s a nice difference to be 2-1 than 1-2 knowing you’re going to play the next five in all type of different states. That’s a better feeling getting on the plane (Oct. 30).”
DeMarcus Cousins put down another top-notch performance. Cousins had 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists before he fouled out with 37.2 seconds left. Rudy Gay chipped in 28 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots for the Kings (2-1).
Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins scores on a reverse layup against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 29 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif.
“We need games like this. Up and down battles,” Gay said. “But that’s a progressive team (Minnesota). They are getting better. They have a great coach, great defense and great players. That’s a good win for us despite being down.”
Andrew Wiggins lead the Timberwolves (0-2) with 29 points, but only one rebound. Zach LaVine had 21 points, five assists, and three steals while Karl-Anthony Town added 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Minnesota’s rookie Kris Dunn’s free throw gave the Timberwolves a 45-27 lead at the 8:51 mark of the second quarter. The Kings cut that lead in half and trailed 65-54 at the break. The Timberwolves were looking great in the first half, but the wheels fell off in the third quarter.
The Kings’ defense came alive in the third quarter and helped the team put together a 18-6 run, capped off by a three-point shot by Barnes that gave Sacramento a 72-71 lead. The Kings led 85-77 after three quarters.
“The third quarter was a problem,” Thibodeau said. “A big problem.”
The Kings went up by 10 points, their biggest lead of the game, when Ty Lawson seven-foot jumper made the score 87-77 early in the fourth quarter. Behind LaVine and Wiggins, the Timberwolves marched back on a 21-9 run after what Thibodeau called an “abomination” in the third quarter.
The Timberwolves tied the game 96-96 on a basket by Dieng with 4:25 left to play. The game was tied two more times after until the Kings moved up by five points on Lawson’s trey with just a little over minute left in the game.
The Timberwolves showed how young they are from there. Wiggins missed one of two free-throw shots and Dunn missed both of his shots at the charity stripe that could have the team down by one point. Cousins fouled Wiggins, which put him on the bench for good.
Sacramento Kings players DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore chase down a rebound.
Towns made a layup to cut the Kings lead 105-103 with 19 seconds. But after Wiggins tied up for a jump ball, that was later tipped to Dunn, Wiggins missed a 21-foot shot, and Dieng missed the tip in.
Barnes got the rebound, was fouled by Towns with 0.02 seconds left, and made one of two free-throws to seal the deal. The Sacramento fans walked away with victory and the Kings are back over .500. The Timberwolves lose their second-consecutive game after having substantial leads. The young squad is learning that this is the NBA and no lead is safe during the course of the game.
“We wanted to come out and hit first in the third quarter,” Cousins said. “We knew they were a team that has a tendency to gain a lead and give it up. We knew we had to be small on offense and control the game that way. We cracked down and made it a game.”
Towns hope losing in such a way does not become a trend.
“You don’t get a lead like we do without doing good things,” Towns said. “We held the lead tight, but we can't let that happen every single game. We can’t be a great team coming out the gates and not finish well.”
The Kings want be back in town until Nov. 8 when they face the New Orleans Pelicans.
The King's victory of the Minnesota Timberwolves was a thriller, but the Sacramento fans definitely deserve it. Ben McLemore had 13 points and Matt Barnes contribute 12 points, nine assists, and four rebounds off the bench.
“I think more than anything it was a chance to get a win at home and start the season off right,” said Rudy Gay. “We have a win on the road and one at home. Now it’s time to rack the wins up.”
Photo Art and Story by T. Ray Harvey, Public Information Officer